Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Police are investigating an incident involving a group of approximately 40 people who allegedly stormed the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) warehouse in Booysens, Gauteng, demanding access to ballot boxes. The event was captured on closed-circuit television, which authorities are now reviewing.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe stated that the police registered an intimidation case following the group’s demands for entry to the warehouse where ballot papers are stored. “The motive for this is under investigation. We are still studying all evidence,” Mathe said. “No arrests have been made, and nothing was taken.”

The IEC confirmed the incident, explaining that it increases the number of its storage sites ahead of elections to keep electoral supplies close to their points of use. “During such rollback of material from a local storage site in the inner city in the City of Johannesburg, a group of persons interfered with the handling of materials and subsequently followed a truck used to transport the material back to the provincial warehouse,” the IEC said. “On arrival at the warehouse, the group attempted to forcefully gain unauthorised entry. The commission can confirm that nothing was taken from the warehouse.”

Police insiders reported that some members of the group were dressed in MK Party regalia. When asked for comment, MKP spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela provided an explanation. According to Ndhlela, MK Party members spotted a van transporting ballot papers and followed it to Booysens. “When they spotted the van, they followed it to Booysens. To the members’ surprise, there were ballot boxes inside the van, and they immediately called the police, who then came out. The members co-operated with the police,” Ndhlela said.

He added that the members discovered the IEC was moving ballot boxes between warehouses. “Why they were doing this, we don’t know. So, it is incorrect that anyone stormed the warehouse. There was a contingency of police that arrived at the scene. We raised the question of what was going on, to the police. Had it not been for some of the MK Party members who saw this, no one would have known what had happened in Booysens.”

The police are continuing to analyze the footage and gather statements to identify those involved and understand their motives.

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